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With the 2010 college football season quickly approaching, there are many questions following almost all prominent programs.
Over the next 25 days, I will highlight each of my own Preseason Top 25 teams [to sort through all the options].
Last season turned out better than expected for the Houston Cougars. At one point during the season, the Cougars were ranked as high as 12th in the country.
Led by talented quarterback Case Keenum and a deep receiver corp, Houston led the nation in passing yards with 434 yards-per-game in 2009. On the right arm of Keenum, Houston upset (at the time) No. 5 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, OK during Week 2 of the season.
After ending the season losing back-to-back games against East Carolina University and Air Force, Houston will look to get back on track in 2010.
Luckily, Coach Kevin Sumlin will bring back the majority of his offense.
Keenum will enjoy having big-time playmaker James Cleveland. The rising senior managed to haul in 104 passes last season, with 14 touchdowns despite missing two games. Cleveland’s counterpart, Tyrone Carrier, was second on the team with 91 receptions.
The 5’8”, 160 pound speedster gives the offense an explosive player with the ball in his hands. Look for new offensive coordinator Jason Philips to try and incorporate Carrier even more to the offense next season. There’s no doubt about it. Houston will still have a top offense and points will come at a premium.
The real question for the Cougars is on the defensive side of the ball.
ILB Marcus McGraw, who was fifth in the nation in tackles, returns to a Cougars defense that needs to replace six starters. In their four losses last season, the Houston defense gave up a combined 180 points; 58 of them came against UTEP. The poor play defensively later cost John Skladany his job.
However, with new coordinator and ex-NFL coach Brian Stewart in the mix, the Cougars will hope to improve a defense that was 111th last season.
Playing in the C-USA conference, Houston doesn’t have the toughest schedule. However, key games include: UTEP, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi.